An odd kind of fame: Stories of Phineas Gage
Over 150 years ago, in an industrial accident, a tamping iron was blown through Phineas Gage's head. The resulting personality change - he was “no longer Gage” - has featured widely in neuroscience and psychology courses.
Take a moment to marvel at the unlikely occurrence: an iron bar, thicker than a broomhandle, crashes through a man's head. He “is able to walk off, talking with composure and equanimity of the hole in his head. This is the sort of accident that happens in pantomime.”
While the choice of subject is laudable, the book itself is rather dry. There is a great deal of historical detail about working on the railroad and Gage's employment. This is undoubtedly a fine piece of research clarifying precisely what we do and do not know about Gage's story. That we do not know details, such as when he was born, and have only vague reports